Nashville Post Highlights Recent Firm Win
Appeals ruling issued in commercial arbitration case
The Tennessee Court of Appeals has reversed a prior court's ruling requiring a developer of lake property to arbitrate claims with his former partner and development company.
In Blue Water Bay LLC v. Larry Hasty, which focused on when parties can be required to arbitrate their disputes, the court also ruled that before a claim with a competing development company could be arbitrated, a developer should be provided the opportunity to take discovery
The decision is significant because the court explored how arbitration works involving non-signatories to agreements to arbitrate, according to Brentwood-based attorney Ben M. Rose, who represented the prevailing party in the case. “While there is federal law in this regard, Tennessee law is relatively undeveloped,” Rose said, adding that the reviewing court went to great lengths to explain in detail what it characterized as the "estoppel" and intertwined-claims test regarding arbitrability obligations between signatories and non-signatories.
"The opinion reverses the notion that arbitration should be required in pretty much any commercial setting, regardless of what the documents say,” Rose said. “If this were true, it would dramatically impact these types of financial arrangements for developers across the state."
The decision does not become final until 60 days and may be further reviewed by the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Blue Water Bay was represented by William B. Hawkins, III, and Eric G. Evans. Larry Hasty was represented by Joshua D. Arters and Rose, founder of The Law Offices of Ben M. Rose.